SENSATION IS BACK AGAIN
By Linda Stasi from December 2001
The hot question: why did it take so long to bring the Yule Log back?
ALTHOUGH they won't be throwing any extra logs on the fire this year, I'm thrilled to know that, yes, the Yule Log will be back on WPIX tomorrow. At 8 in the morning.
True, it's only for two hours, but it's a start.
And it's a nice little Christmas gift in a year when we can really use a bit of nostalgic cheer.
Me? I'm thrilled because I love The Yule Log. I mean I really love that darned log, and I've missed it terribly.
And now, after 12 long years on the lam, the fact that the Yule Log is making a comeback - even though it will be the shortest-lived show since "Bob Patterson" - makes me misty with joy.
I mean, really, how can you not love anything as absurd as a fire blazing on a TV screen while Christmas songs play constantly in the background? Brilliant!
And in fact, I have always defended the Yule Log as totally innovative TV. Really, the Yule Log is the original music video - minus the crotch-grabbing and scantily dressed babes.
Anyway, for reasons too upsetting to understand, 12 years ago, WPIX decided to do away with, (if I may be informal here) "the log." It was a horrible decision.
For hundreds of years, I always had the Yule Log on as background music for my Christmas party. You could hook that sucker up to the speakers, and have an instant party. Aside from my album of the Rockettes tapping out your favorite Christmas tunes, nothing says "Christmas" in my home, like "the log."
For the past couple of years, the "log" has had a home - of sorts. On the WPIX website. Naaah.
But now it's back blazing up a storm on TV. And in honor of the return of "Log" I encourage all New Yorkers to place their TV sets on the floor, cover them in brick-patterned Christmas crepe paper (can you still buy that?) and gather round the "fireplace" and dance to your favorite Christmas tunes like "Oh Tannenbaum!"
For your information, the first Yule Log was just a loop of film shot at Gracie Mansion when John Lindsay was mayor. It's been re-shot a zillion times since, never at Gracie Mansion, but always done with the utmost care to make it look like it was shot Gracie.
Why they don't just shoot the fireplace at Gracie again, I don't know. In fact, they really should do that next year, I mean, nobody will be living there except the occasional squatter, so why not?
Not that bringing old loggie back was easy. For one thing, they couldn't find it. Finally, after snooping around, it was traced to an archive in New Jersey by WPIX program director Julie O'Neil (the brains behind the big log comeback).
Despite its greatness, it was gathering dust in a film can simply labeled, "fireplace." Can you imagine?
But then, these things happen. The original and only uncut/unshown version of "King Kong" (the one that shows Kong eating a guy's leg off) was sitting in a film can in somebody's garage when it was uncovered in the '80's.
Following "log," WPIX, bless their hearts, will show my very favorite, "March of the Wooden Soldiers," made in 1934 with Laurel and Hardy.
After that, it's "A Christmas Carol" - not the good 1951 Alastair Sim version (originally titled "Scrooge"), but the 1984 George C. Scott version. The Sim version is relegated to Christmas morning at 4 a.m.
Now the bad - actually the horrible - news. Both "Scrooge" and "March of the Wooden Soldiers" have been colorized.
Me? I'm dreaming of a black and white Christmas.